Grits Carbonara

Hankerings publishes its fair share of butter-, cheese-, and animal fat- laden dishes. No surprise then that we’ve shared an inordinately high number of wow-factor, carbonara-inspired dishes.

If the general concept of carbonara tickles your fancy, I urge you to check out our Red Hot Pasta Carbonara Nests, Pizza Carbonara or Linguini with Clams Carbonara.

There’s a reason for this.  I’ve been known to crave some combination of cheese, egg yolks, garlic and meat when my hungry monster rears its head. All in one dish.

In theory, you could “carbonara-ize” any starchy comfort food – and you’ll end up with something salty, porky, cheesy, eggy, and garlicky.  Check, check, check… & check.

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Garlic delivers the heat, pungency and baseline flavor for the dish. Parm reg, the king of cheese, brings the dairy fat. Then you have the egg yolk, which is a nature-made sauce in and of itself – a miracle bestowed on us from the food gods and goddesses.

And then there’s bacon. One of the most readily available, scrumptious hunks animal fat you can get your hands on. Speaking of, if you want to give a killer gift, Zingerman’s offers the best bacon of the month club you will find online.

Because let’s face it, grits could use a pick me up.

I’ve never gone wrong with buttered grits. I’ll typically reserved my grits consumption for my rare trips to the Waffle House, usually while I’m on the road to southern Virginia. They’re incredibly good cooked simply, but as with most ubiquitously-loved and adaptable foods, I can’t help myself. I add all sorts of stuff to grits when I make them at home. Whatever I have in the fridge on any given day – herbs, tomato sauce, blue cheese, you name it – is likely to end up there.

There are two kinds of grits – instant grits and real-deal, stone-ground grits. I used instant grits here for hunger-pang related reasons, however, you’re going to have a much more toothsome outcome with the low and slow stone-ground variety. If you are lucky enough to have the time to go that route. Just substitute the same volume of grits, substituting the recommended liquid with milk, and cook according to package instructions.

What are some of your favorite grits additions? And more importantly, what dish should I carbonara-ize next!? 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 4 oz. bacon, of your choosing, medium diced
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 / 3 cup instant grits
  • 1 / 3 cup parm reg, plus additional for garnish
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 / 4 cup scallions, for garnish
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper, plus additional for garnish

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Brown the bacon in a medium-sized saucepan. When the bacon is almost done cooking, add the garlic. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  2. Add the grits, stirring for a minute or two. Add the milk, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, cover, and simmer on low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until the grits are al dente.
  3. Add 3 of the egg yolks off the heat to the grits, and stir vigorously to cool. Add the parm reg and stir until melted. Plate the grits. Top each plate with one egg yolk, sprinkling with pepper, parm reg, and chopped scallions for garnish, if desired. Serve immediately.

 

 

Lox Fixins Frittata

I’ve been riding out an insatiable salmon-craving phase. At this moment, any salmon would do.

I know these food craving spells very well – they come and will eventually pass. Like my sushi over-consumption phase in the fall of 2009, or the pho mania of 2011.

While in the midst of another food-related binge, I was a regular customer of Bruegger’s Bagels on E Street by the Capital One Arena here in D.C. a few years ago. It’s gone now, but it was easily my most regularly visited takeout joint. My order consisted of a lox bagel with extra jalapeno cream cheese, all on a jalapeno-cheese bagel. At checkout, I’d add a large, fat black iced coffee.

I could eat as much spicy cream cheese and lox as I wanted with that unwieldy, monster of a bagel sandwich. And it was expensive as far as bagels go because of that pile of lox. I craved that sandwich like nothing else.

Instead of doing a quick egg scramble with lox, I wanted to throw all the ingredients that go on your typical lox bagel sandwich into a fritatta bake. The addition of dill elevates the flavor profile to something more elegant and brunch-y enough for guests. You’re getting that pretty presentation with the dill scattered on top. And who would I be to veer from the ubiquitous salmon and dill power combo?

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I was on the fence about adding cream cheese. But it tastes great, melts into the eggy mixture, and you need it to get the full lox bagel experience. This is another recipe you can count on to taste exactly like the food you’re drawing inspiration from. All the lox bagel flavors are there.

If you’re a big breakfast casserole fan – I’d absolutely get behind putting some torn bagel pieces into the batter. How could that be anything but amazing?

I’m going to continue letting this food craze run its course. In the meantime, it’s fun thinking up dishes like these, all in an attempt to get my salmon fix.

Here’s to indulging in those wackiest, out-of-nowhere of food cravings. I hope you enjoy! 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 6 oz. high-quality lox, torn into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 oz. cold cream cheese, crumbled into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 / 2 cup red onion, small diced
  • 1 / 4 cup ripe tomato, small diced
  • 4 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • 7 eggs
  • 1 / 3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*.
  2. Heat the butter in a medium-sized oven-safe skillet or cast iron pan. Sautee the red onion for 5 to 7 minutes or so, until translucent. Remove from heat.
  3. In the meantime, whisk the eggs, heavy cream, salt pepper and dill until combined.
  4. Add the lox, cream cheese, capers and tomato, and gently combine until the mixture is even throughout.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the pan with the onions, and place in the oven. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until golden brown and set.
  6. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Butterbeer Pancakes

The story behind this recipe can be found in Hankerings’ post, You’re a Wizard, Harry!

I hope you enjoy. 🙂

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

F o r  t h e  P a n c a k e s

  • Prepared pancake mix of your choosing (other ingredients per package directions)
  • 1 tablespoon butter flavoring
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 / 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted

F o r  t h e  W h i p p e d  C r e a m

  • 1 / 2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 / 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon cinnamon

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Mix the ingredients (per package instructions), adding the additional spices and ingredients at the end. Combine vigorously with a whisk. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes so the batter has a chance to thicken.
  2. To make the whipped cream, put the heavy cream in the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment, and run on high speed for 5 or so minutes, until the cream is whipped. Stir in the remaining spices and let sit in fridge while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  3. Heat a griddle and add the butter. Once the butter is foaming, pour a ladle-full of pancake batter into the hot pan. Once bubbles appear in the center of the pancake, flip it to the other side to finish cooking. Repeat until all batter is gone.
  4. To serve the pancakes, add a dollop of the whipped cream on stacks of four pancakes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve with maple syrup, if desired.

Diner-Style Deviled Ham Hash

In this next post of my “no-no” mystery meat recipe series, I wanted to share one of my all-time favorite canned meats – Underwood Deviled Ham.

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If you haven’t had it already, it’s a bit of an acquired taste. Not for me of course – I loved it from day one. But it’s as American as red, white and blue. If you didn’t eat it growing up, my gut tells me you might – with an emphasis on the word might – not like trying it for the first time as an adult.

My boyfriend wasn’t a fan. He said he wouldn’t feed it to the dog.

You have to give this a try. For anyone who is familiar with this delectable max-processed delicacy, or still reading even after this cautious introduction, you’ll soon realize this is the breakfast hash that was missing in your life.

Deviled ham has a similar flavor to Spam, or any sodium-heavy canned meat product you’ll find in the grocery store. I used to eat it straight from the can. The most typical way to serve it is between two slices of mayo-smeared white bread topped with iceberg lettuce – right where it belongs.

I’ll usually keep a few cans of Hormel’s Corned Beef Hash in my pantry. This recipe is a home-cooked variation of the canned hash, using fresh potatoes and swapping out the corned beef for the deviled ham.

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The ham and potatoes go together like peanut butter and jelly. Alongside a couple of sunny side up eggs, this is just what the doctor ordered when you’re craving a greasy, filling diner-style breakfast.

I went to town and back on this. I probably met my sodium quota for the month. I don’t know about you – but if this hash gives me yet another excuse to eat deviled ham, my GP and I are completely on board with that.

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 1.

  • 2 medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into small cubes
  • 1 can Underwood Deviled Ham
  • 1 / 3 cup white onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the onion, potato, pinch of salt and pinch of pepper, cooking on medium heat until the potatoes are near golden and crisp and the onions are near translucent.
  2. Once the hash is almost done, add the deviled ham. Continue to cook the hash so the ham has a chance to crisp up.
  3. Plate the hash and serve hot, with a couple of sunny side up eggs and hot sauce, if desired.

 

Green Eggs & Spam

This is the first of a few modern-day “no-no” processed meat recipes I will be posting in the coming weeks, so brace yourselves.

I’m going back to my food roots.

I have always been drawn to nitro-, sulfite-, preservative-packed meat products. Hot dogs, Steak-umms, deviled ham, bacon, Jimmy Dean sausages, Spam, bologna, that bologna stuff studded with olives. Pretty much anything with the Oscar Mayer logo stamped on it.

I was a really skinny kid. Thinking back, I wonder if my parents bought this food thinking it might fill me out a bit. All that and Little Debbie snacks. Zebra Cakes were my favorite. Anyone else? Any Nutty Butty fans out there? Try putting those in the freezer if you haven’t already, by the way.

Of course, I’m kidding about the trying to fatten me up part.

As an adult I still have the same salty, faux-meat cravings. And I let myself give into them – not all the time, but every so often.

I think of green eggs and spam the same way I think of egg in a hole or Micky Mouse-shaped pancakes. It’s a fun breakfast food that (I imagine) may appeal to kids.

But let’s get real – wouldn’t we all pick this off a menu in a heartbeat, if only because of the name? Some foods can be super nostalgic. And as adults, most of us love to eat what we ate as kids.

I loved Green Eggs & Ham as a kid because it was about weird food. And who would’ve thought that would carry through to adulthood!

So this recipe hits home for me big time. I hope you like it.

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 1.

  • 1 / 2 can Spam, sliced into cubes

F o r  t h e  E g g s

  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter

F o r  t h e  S a u c e

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 / 2 scallion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons basil, chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Melt the butter in a nonstick saute pan. Fry the two eggs until the whites are just set. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. In a blender or food processor, pulse the sauce ingredients until completely incorporated. Set aside.
  3. Take the cubed Spam and pan-fry on medium heat for 7 to 9 minutes, tossing often. Set aside.
  4. Plate the sunny side up eggs with the Spam. Pour the green sauce over the Spam and eggs. Garnish, if desired, with chives or any other green herbs you have on hand.